Tuesday, May 31, 2016

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Catholic Education Daily


Christendom Board Chairman on LCWR

Curious as to what happened to some groups of U.S. nuns--including those who became dissident theology professors--after the Second Vatican Council? Donna Bethell, chairman of the board of directors of Christendom College, explains what went wrong in a piece staunchly defending Rome’s recent intervention regarding the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). “As the Holy See is ultimately responsible for the activities of organizations like the LCWR, it is not surprising that it should eventually evaluate what they are doing,” Bethell writes in the National Catholic Register. Bethell, who is careful to emphasize that many U.S. nuns aren’t in the LCWR mold, notes that the trouble started when some American nuns lost their focus:
In the wake of the Second Vatican Council, some religious women took the call for renewal as a summons to feminism and an emphasis on social work, and there was a loss of the Christological focus necessary to the consecrated life and a drift toward a secular and political viewpoint. Over the years, the LCWR has shown a marked trend toward fringe — and even decidedly un-Catholic — positions and interests, such as ordaining women and encouraging the homosexual lifestyle, while neglecting the legitimate development of Catholic spirituality among the members of the congregations belonging to the LCWR. Speakers at LCWR annual assemblies have espoused New Age fads, politics reflective of our morally relative culture and “feminist theology,” but scarcely anyone could be found to speak out against the primary injustice of abortion, offer an enriched understanding of religious life, or affirm the Church’s teaching on family life and human sexuality.
Bethell recalls that the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious was founded in 1992 in response to what women religious loyal to Rome regarded as problematical with LCWR. Comparing the two groups, Bethell concludes on a poignant note:
This sad tale might not end soon, but it will end. The average age of the members of LCWR communities is 73 and increasing, while their numbers fall. Meanwhile, what of the CMSWR? They represent 20% of all the women religious in the U.S., more than 11,000 sisters, but they are young, with an average age of 35 and falling, and they are growing fast. They are happy to state their fidelity to the magisterium of the Church, to pray together as the central focus of their lives, to work together in community apostolates, to wear recognizable religious habits and, above all, to promote and protect their consecration to Christ as the source and goal of the Church’s life.

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